The City Calls

Dirty Tricks EP

Written by: TL on 28/11/2010 00:58:37

I don't know if you've noticed, but lately it has seemed impossible to take a step into the depth of the British music scene, without stubbing your toes on a possé of youngsters desperately trying to make it as the next You Me At Six/All Time Low/Fall Out Boy pop-punk sensation. The latest group to have been brought to my attention is Southampton's The City Calls, whose I Am Might Records debút, the "Dirty Tricks EP" has been submitted for review.

Considering my choice of opening sentence, I bet you're on to me thinking that young and aspiring pop-punk outfits are a dime a dozen, and indeed, for any upstart to make any sort of impression on me, it's going to take a hint of awareness of personality, if not at least some accidentally catchy song writing. The City Calls, from what I can hear, do not bring any of those to the table, at least not yet. The quintet's debút EP has the very typical sound of a band which has strained its ability just to put together a record of five relatively enjoyable songs.

Mission accomplished guys, and good for you, for I do certainly not expect for every band to take flight on their first step. That being said however, after you're done feeling really good about being able to call yourselves recording artists, you might want to listen to your EP again and realize that it's hardly going to break you to many outside of your friends and family. That sounds harsh maybe, but the fact is that these kind of bright, minimally produced, whoa-oh backed pop-punk songs have been done to death and then some.

A disc like this only proves that you're proficient in the style, but to be relevant, you need to make the style your own, and until you do, your band will, generally speaking, have "local circuit" written all over it. There are some good news however. While I haven't exactly found any dazzling rays of talent listening to "Dirty Tricks EP", I also haven't found any moments worthy of a facepalm. For better and worse, the material is almost dead average, in the sense that it's easily enjoyable, not even requiring of more than a listen or two, yet it is also rather forgetable and uninspiring. I imagine you could probably go to a The City Calls gig, hear their tunes for the first time, tap your feet to the beat and sing along to the odd catchy line of lyrics, and then have forgotten the band's name halfway through the next day.

I guess in short what I'm saying is that this is not bad, as it doesn't have any elements to piss anyone off, it simply also doesn't have any elements to make anyone care. You could imagine some sort of signature sound, some more quirky instrumentation, some more impressive singing or perhaps just some interesting lyrics - any of those things added into the mix and this band would be worth noticing. For now however, this EP is merely the perfect reminder that conviction and recording ability is only a starting point. The next step would be to find out who you are as a band, and how to make people care about it.

Download: Flaunt It
For The Fans Of: Kyoto Drive, Not Advised, Get Set Radio

Release Date Summer 2010
I Am Mighty Records

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